Things Colorado Personal Injury Clients Find Especially Confusing About Their Case
Getting injured in a Colorado auto accident that was caused by another driver is a terrifying and often confusing experience, and it’s only the beginning.
Injured people who file personal injury claims to receive compensation for their damages often have very little, if any, experience with the legal system. Here are some incorrect assumptions that accident victims often make about their cases:
1. I didn’t cause the accident, so I don’t have to pay my accident-related expenses.
While having to pay for damages that they didn’t cause usually makes little or no sense to someone injured in an automobile accident, that is often exactly what they will be required to do. Nobody will be required to pay your accident-related bills until a court orders them to do so or they agree to pay them as part of a personal injury settlement.
Unpaid, your bills will likely continue to pile up unless you have Medical Pay Coverage (Med Pay) – Colorado insurers are required to offer you $5,000 in Med Pay, but you can choose to reject it in writing. If you don’t have Med Pay, your health insurance will likely pay your medical bills (although a deductible might apply). Without health insurance coverage, your medical providers will send the bills to you or ask your attorney to put a lien on your settlement proceeds. Once your case settles, your insurance company will request reimbursement from the at-fault party’s insurance company for any bills they paid on your behalf.
2. The accident report says the other driver was at fault, so it shouldn’t take long to settle my case, right?
Wrong. Even if the other party was cited by law enforcement at the scene and your case seems relatively straightforward, in your opinion at least, most personal injury cases take weeks, months, and sometimes even years to settle.
Even when you feel your case has been made, your case will not be ready to settle until you have completed all your accident-related medical treatment, at which time your treating physician will place you at what is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI does not necessarily mean you are completely recovered; it simply means that your condition has stabilized and no further improvement is expected. It also does not mean that your accident-related medical treatment is complete – your injuries may be extensive or even permanent and require long-term care.
3. My injuries aren’t extensive, but a personal injury case will be a good way to make some extra money.
Wrong again, for a couple of reasons. 1) If you weren’t injured in the accident or you suffered minor injuries, you might not have a viable personal injury case, since there might not be sufficient damages to base a personal injury case on. Injury lawsuits are intended to compensate an injured person for their losses and make them “whole” again. 2) Insurance companies have a singular goal: to resolve your case while paying you the least amount of money possible (or none at all). If you didn’t sustain any compensatory damages, an insurance company is not likely to offer you much to settle your case.
If you have questions about a potential personal injury claim, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.